The Flametrick Subs, Slick 57, the Von Ehrics, Rocket DeVille

Whiskey, women and wheels--the bands at Friday night's rockabilly show owe a serious creative debt to that glorious trifecta. (Then again, what band doesn't?) Whether it was Rocket DeVille's Clutch DeVille bragging about his hopped-up '32 Ford or Slick 57's John Pedigo crying for "Alcohol and Aspirin," these were bands that wore their liquor and their Lucky Strikes on their sleeves. At times, the predictability and forced swagger grew a tad tiresome. Another wallet chain. Another song about cars and booze. But the most successful knew how to tweak the standard formula. The Von Ehrics' set thundered through the floor like an earthquake, as much redneck metal as rockabilly. With his bald head and a forked tongue of a goatee, bassist Jeffrey Moseley (playing an Ibenez as opposed to the typical stand-up) looked like he just returned from Ozzfest, and he played like it, too, fast and ferocious, as if Satan were at his heels. Slick 57 delivered at full-throttle despite the admission from both Pedigo and bassist Ward Richmond that they were so hungover they might puke. Slick 57 brings a nice pop sensibility to the genre--the band has always sounded to me like a cross between Blink-182 and the Old 97's (or is that just because of the numerals?). Headliners the Flametrick Subs, those wacky Austin psychobillies, brought enough gimmickry to make the Flaming Lips look humble--go-go girls, red floodlights, gutter-bass vocals, hammy eyebrow wriggling. But it was entertaining. That's the thing about rockabilly--maybe it isn't so original, maybe it always turns out the same, but that's what they say about drinking, too. And that never stopped anyone.
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Sarah Hepola